Vietnam veterans honored at Plattsburgh gathering

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Veteran's Day is a day to honor those who have served our country. But there was a time in recent U.S. history when vets didn't feel honored -- or even welcome -- after they got home from war. Vietnam veterans of northern New York were honored Friday in Plattsburgh with a gift they will never forget.

"This district has more veterans than other Congressional districts in New York state," said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-New York.

Vietnam veterans were honored ahead of Veterans Day, for their time served during war.

"I this it's a great ceremony. I hate to say it, but it's about time for some of the Vietnam vets," said retired U.S. Air Force Col. Joe McNichols.

When soldiers returned home after the Vietnam War, he says a warm welcome was not something they received. "When I came back from Vietnam you had to take your uniform off in the airport," McNichols said.

Now, lawmakers are working to make things right for these vets, and let them know just how appreciated they really are.

"So much has been done in recent years to try and make up for those years and I hope somehow you feel better about it yourselves," said Senator Betty Little/R-Queensbury.

A symbolic pin was given to each veteran. On it, a golden eagle surrounded by six stars and stripes, held together by a blue band with a laurel wreath and a message inscribed on the back -- "A grateful nation thanks and honors you."

"We are happy to be a generation and a community that thanks you for going above and beyond and answering the call to service for your nation and serve a cause higher than yourself," Rep. Stefanik said.

An emotional day as the veterans and their families were celebrated. "It's good to have Congress recognize the folks that they served and especially the families that were left behind. It's appreciated," McNichols said.